Resolution on the Root Causes of Refugees in Africa


The OAU Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity, meeting in its Forty-second Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 10 to 17 July, 1985,

Recalling its Resolution CM/Res.954 (XLI) adopted at its Forty-first Ordinary Session held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 February to 5 March 1985, which requested the Secretary-General a.i. of the OAU to collect and collate all available information on the root causes of refugees in Africa,

Noting with satisfaction the report of the Secretary-General a.i. of the OAU on this all important matter,

Considering the serious and complex nature of the refugee problem on the African continent and the need to eradicate its causes,

Re-affirming the fact that the oppressive system of apartheid colonialism and racism constitute major causes for the exodus of refugees in Southern Africa:

  1. EXPRESSES ITS THANKS to OAU Member States, the OAU Commission of Fifteen on Refugees, the OAU Secretary-General a.i. and governmental and non-governmental organizations for contributing to this report;

  1. RECALLS the legal definition of the term “refugee” as stipulated by the UN and OAU Conventions and consequently, draws the attention of Member States to the need to maintain the distinction between the refugees and displaced persons who move solely as a result of drought or other natural disasters;

  1. URGES the international community to exert all possible efforts to bring about the speedy elimination of apartheid and the termination of South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia;

  1. APPEALS ONCE MORE to all Member States that have not yet done so to ratify as early as possible the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problem in Africa as well as the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights;

  1. APPEALS to all Member States to promote a harmonious social integration in order to eliminate the refugee problems;

  1. DRAWS the attention of Member States to the need for states to scrupulously implement the permanent provisions of the Charter of the United Nations as well as that of the OAU;

  1. CALLS on the Member States most affected by the refugee problem to meet whenever possible at sub-regional level, to find ways and means of resolving problems relating to refugees and work towards the most durable solution – voluntary repatriation;

  1. CALLS FURTHER on countries of origin to create the necessary political climate to facilitate genuine voluntary repatriation of refugees.

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